Ok everyone, it’s here, a fresh season of football is upon us. With Covid and a whole lot of other craziness over the past year and a half, the long awaited return of a normal(as normal as NFL football can be) football season is here. For some of us, football season is something we eagerly wait for many months for. Football Sunday, Thursday Night Football, Monday Night football, they’re like Christmas for us. Part of this beautiful season is fantasy, bets, and personal competition and comments of all kinds. Well who am I to not take part in this tradition. As you all know, I do a pickem every season and I’m heavily involved in fantasy as well. This season I wanted to start out with a bang and do my own personal hot takes and predictions for the season. I’m even gonna risk embarrassment by breaking one of my personal rules and predicting the 4 teams to make it to the Championship games this season. So, lets get right down to it.
Lamar Finishes as the top fantasy QB and passes for 4,000 yards
I know this seems like a homer pick, but the pieces are there and the proof is in the pudding. Lamar completes a very fair amount of deep passes and is very good over the middle. Lamar is 2nd since starting back in 2018 in effectiveness in pure passing situations. He also is in the bottom half of the league in passes off target. He’s a better passer than he’s given credit for and spent all offseason working on passing, specifically outside the hash marks and down field. The Ravens also beefed up the offensive line this offseason and brought in a handful of new weapons. Plus Lamar also happens to be one of the most electrifying and gifted running quarterbacks in NFL history. Lamar has finished top 6 in his 2 full seasons as a starter and he gets better every year and has newer and better weapons this season. Look for him to prove the doubters wrong again.
Baker finishes top 7 in fantasy QBs
This Cleveland Browns team has the highest ceiling out of any team in the league. They had a great season last year as they beat the Steelers in the playoffs and gave the Chiefs all they could handle. What more they do to improve you ask? Oh I don’t know maybe just build the best offensive line, with 4 of their 5 starters ranking 1 or 2 in their positions. They also have the strongest RB duo in the league. They have very strong receiving weapons and they added a plethora of defensive talent this offseason. This team looks very strong and if they can mesh well and Baker takes another step forward, this train may have enough steam to go farther than they’ve ever gone before. I like Baker to be a top fantasy QB and maybe even be an MVP candidate this season.
Nick Chubb finishes as the leagues top rusher
Speaking of the Browns, lets address the oh-so-talented Nick Chubb out of the backfield. He finished 7th in rushing last season and that was after rushing only 190 times. He average 5.6 yards per carry, had he rushed closer to 250 like most of the other top rushers, he’d have been up towards the top. He’s a very special and talented runner and the O-line starters have returned and I look for him to get plenty of opportunities to prove me right. Kareem Hunt will take some carries away, but Chubb is too good to keep out of the game. He’s going to go off and have a huge season.
Zeke Elliott finishes out of the top 10
This one is going to catch some flak from football minds. Everyone loves Zeke, hell, I love Zeke. He’s a very gifted and consistent runner and athlete. Last year was his lowest season rushing however, failing to break 1,000 yards. With Dak back, I surprisingly think that keeps things from changing much along with more growth from Tony Pollard. Dak is back and will be aggressive and strong. Dak was on fire before his season ending injury and will prove to be the same talent again this season. They have a lot of mouths to feed on that offense, but not everyone gets to eat as much as they’d like. Zeke will do better than last season, but he won’t have the resurgence that people have been anticipating with Dak’s return.
Jalen Hurts won’t make top 15 in fantasy
Plenty of people are on the Hurts hype train in fantasy. I mean why not? He’s proven to be a gifted athlete and a dependable winner. He’s a solid dual threat option, how can a running QB not break top 15? It’s simple, he’s young and has very little weapons. Sure he has a solid line, but he’s young still. It takes guys time to become good or even solid QBs. Hurts just looked too shaky with what we saw from him last season. Factor in the fact that he has no dependable weapons outside of his TEs and RB, and his inexperience and it’s a bad recipe for the season. This team isn’t strong on paper and he’s just not in a good place to have success this season. Look for him to struggle to find his footing this season.
Jameis Winston will finish in the top 10
Let’s not pretend that Winston didn’t just finish the 2019 season with 5,000 passing yards and 33 TDs. Sure he threw 30 INTs, but lasik eye surgery could be the difference between season of stats that are all over the map and a consistently efficient season. I know that seems like a joke, but don’t give up on old Jameis yet. The sample size we saw in the preseason was small and it’s preseason so it has to be taken lightly, but he showed a different Jameis then we’re used to. We saw a QB with poise, readability, precision, and smart decision making. He looked like an old broken down toy given a repair and a new sense of fight and motivation, setting the stage perfectly for a comeback we won’t forget.
Julio Jones has the best season of ANY Titans weapon
See when i say ANY offensive weapon, I mean any. He will have a better season than Brown, Firkser, Henry, any Titan player for Tannehil to get the ball to, he’ll overshadow them. Julio Jones was unanimously considered the best WR in the league hands down just a couple of years ago. Granted this offense isn’t as gunslinging as Atlanta’s, and he’s definitely not the same young buck he was, but he’s still more than capable of posting solid numbers. He did just have 1,200 yards and 10 TDs 2 years ago. He has a system where the defense can’t put all focus on him and a QB who has perfected using the run to open up play action to make space for his receivers. Look for Jones to remind us of why he was once considered the best in the league.
Bold Predictions For The Season
AFC champions will be from the AFC North
As much as I love what the Chiefs and Bills have put together, it’s so easy to get lost in their success and power, that we forget to remember the next tier or even the surprises to come. KC and Buffalo are top dawgs in the conference and rightfully so. They prove the past few seasons they’re here and it’s going to take some strength and discipline to take them down. Enter in Baltimore and Cleveland. Baltimore is one season off from going 14-2 with the MVP under center. The team they’ve assembled this season has the few pieces that 14-2 team was missing. Maturity, more weapons for Lamar, and a more diverse pass rush. They added some bodies to the defense that are capable of getting in the backfield in a hurry, and they’ve added a couple of weapons that fit the scheme very nicely. Harbaugh may have something special that’s capable of stringing together a few playoff wins. Let’s not forget though that last year’s Browns made the playoffs and knocked off the favored Steelers. That Browns team looked strong and hungry, but they just fell short at the hands of the Chiefs. They ended up adding even more pieces on both sides of the ball and have even more chemistry amongst them this season. This team looks incredibly stacked and tough, maybe tough enough to dethrone the kings of the AFC.
NFC Champions will be one of the old rival QBs
Just last season, Stafford and Rodgers faced off twice a year as divisional rivals. Rodgers had the fortune of representing the stout and strong Packers, while Stafford had the misfortune of representing the comical and sluggish Lions. This season, the script has flipped for Stafford as he finds himself on an already established and strong Rams team lead by a hell of a coach in Sean McVay. They will finally have strong and proven quarterback play this year. They will have to outduel a Green Bay team that looks to maximize what could be the final season of Rodgers and Adams together in Green and Gold. Rodgers wants to go out of Green Bay on top though in one last prove it all effort. The only problem is, they have to usurp the GOAT with 7 rings to make it there. I believe either Rodgers or Stafford will be the one to finally take Brady down and make it to the Super Bowl.
Lamar will win his second MVP
You can call this a homer pick all you want, but I’ve seen the offseason development, the added weapons and the joint practices. Lamar has made some solid improvements in his passing. This notion that the NFL has “figured him out” is silly. There’s nothing to figure out when the guy who throws the ball, also happens to be the fastest and most skilled player on the field. They’ve given him some new weapons, added to the offensive line, and his passing, poise, and vision seem to have strongly improved. You will no longer see a QB who will struggle when forced to throw outside or downfield as you all claim. We will see a QB who can just do whatever it is that he damn well pleases on the field. He’s not going to be perfect, but he will make a sizeable jump in his passing ability to accompany his ever skilled and dangerous feet. I think he sets the league on fire to the tune of 4K passing and 1K rushing. Call me a homer all you want, that’s just how I see it.
Brady and the Bucs get knocked out of the playoffs early
We all know Brady is the goat. It’s an accepted ideal at this point, we can all be adults about it. Last year Brady and company burned the league left and right on their way to that sweet Lombardi trophy and his 7th ring. They brought back much or even all of the same starters. So how could I possibly justify a hot take like this? Well I’ll tell you how, the rest of the league is maturing and getting stronger. The next generation is here and it’s adding wisdom and strength every season. Mahommes, Lamar, Allen, Baker, Herbert, etc., they’re the future of the league and the QB position as a whole. At some point, Brady’s reign will end and the baton will be passed completely. Nobody is saying that that is happening now, but this may be
There you have it, some bold fantasy projections and some hot takes for the season mixed in. I know I speak for us all when I say this time of year is like being a kid walking into the world’s largest candy store. The familiar pre-game jingles, the pre game analysis, the fanfare, the predictions, the tailgates, it all adds up to a truly magical time of year and it’s now just around the corner. With that, I thank you for reading, commenting, sharing, and just supporting in whatever ways you do. Good luck in your fantasy leagues, good luck to your NFL teams, and let’s all enjoy yet another glorious NFL season.